Manny Diaz: Miami Was on Brink of Not Playing VT Due to COVID-19-Related Issues

Manny Diaz: Miami Was on Brink of Not Playing VT Due to COVID-19-Related Issues

Miami head coach Manny Diaz looks on in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

Mark Wallheiser/Associated Press

Miami was able to avoid an upset against Virginia Tech on Saturday, but head coach Manny Diaz admitted afterward that the game came close to not happening at all.

Diaz told reporters following his team’s 25-24 win that the Hurricanes were “were on the brink” of not playing and had to wait for the results of the final COVID-19 tests before deciding to go ahead with the game:

“(The players) wanted to play, and we were right on the brink at some position groups whether we could even function as a team. Some guys had to step up. We were really down on numbers at offensive line. It makes it hard to practice. It makes it hard to do anything, but no one cares right? You go play a game and there’s no excuses. The players came here to win the game. I told them I thought they won the game on Fri with their mentality and their attitude with all the things we had to go through this week.”

Miami has been announcing players as “unavailable” one hour before games without offering any specific reason.

Prior to the Hurricanes’ game against Virginia on Oct. 24, eight players were scratched right before kickoff.

“It’s just the reality of 2020,” Diaz said two days later in an interview with 560-AM (h/t David Furones of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel).

Per Susan Miller Degnan and David Wilson of the Miami Herald, the Hurricanes didn’t have 13 players available for Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech for undisclosed reasons. Three of them—Jakai Clark, Jared Harrison-Hunte and Zach McCloud—are starters.

Miami’s roster crunch comes as programs across the country continue to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks. There were 15 games this weekend either canceled or postponed.

The Hurricanes have played all eight of their games to this point in the season. They have three games remaining in the regular season.

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